Drug–Drug Interactions, Effectiveness, and Safety of Hormonal Contraceptives in Women Living with HIV

Kimberly K. Scarsi*, Kristin M. Darin, Catherine A. Chappell, Stephanie M. Nitz, Mohammed Lamorde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Family planning options, including hormonal contraceptives, are essential for improving reproductive health among the more than 17 million women living with HIV worldwide. For these women, prevention of unintended pregnancy decreases maternal and child mortality, as well as reduces the risk of perinatal HIV transmission. Similarly, treatment of HIV with antiretroviral therapy (ART) is essential for reducing morbidity and mortality among HIV-positive individuals, as well as preventing HIV transmission between sexual partners or from mother to child. Importantly, despite the benefits of hormonal contraceptives, barriers to effective family planning methods exist for HIV-positive women. Specifically, drug–drug interactions can occur between some antiretroviral medications and some hormonal contraceptives, which may influence both contraceptive efficacy and tolerability. In addition, safety concerns have been raised about the impact of hormonal contraceptives on HIV disease progression, tolerability, and the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission. This review article summarizes the potential for drug–drug interactions, tolerability, and contraceptive effectiveness when hormonal contraceptives are combined with ART. In addition, the evidence surrounding the influence of hormonal contraceptives on HIV transmission and HIV disease progression in women living with HIV are summarized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1053-1072
Number of pages20
JournalDrug Safety
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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